Update on the latest in business:


Asian markets bounce back from omicron sell-offs

BANGKOK (AP) — Asian shares have bounced back from a worldwide slump in financial markets spurred by worries about how badly the omicron variant, inflation and other forces will hit the world economy.

Tokyo gained 2.1% and other benchmarks in Asia also were higher. Oil prices also advanced.

On Monday, the S&P 500 fell 1.1%, following up on similar drops across Europe and Asia. Stocks of oil producers fell sharply after the price of U.S. crude fell 3.7%. Markets were also absorbing a major setback for a proposed $2 billion spending plan by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve’s move last week to more quickly exit from the tremendous support it’s providing the economy.


Democrats try to ‘build back’ after Manchin tanks $2T bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are trying to pick up the pieces after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin effectively crushed President Joe Biden’s big domestic policy bill.

They faced serious questions Monday over whether the $2 trillion initiative can be refashioned to win his crucial vote or the party will be saddled with a devastating defeat.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said they’re going to “work like hell” to finish. And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed the chamber will vote early in the new year. But the conservative Manchin and his party are so far apart it’s hard to see how they can even go back to negotiations.


US to landlords, lenders: heed pro-military housing rules

UNDATED (AP) — The Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are warning mortgage servicers and landlords to heed rules meant to protect members of the U.S. military against foreclosure, eviction and other potential housing-related financial hardships during the pandemic.

The move, announced Monday, comes as forbearance programs put in place in the early weeks of the pandemic last year to allow homeowners to hit pause on their mortgage payments are set to expire at the end of the month.

Roughly 7.6 million homeowners entered forbearance during the pandemic and have exited, but some 1.25 million, many military personnel or veterans, remain in forbearance programs about to expire.

Members of the military have legal protections established so they are free to comply with their service requirements, such as a potentially lengthy deployment overseas. Among the protections: mortgage servicers, which manage payment collection on home loans, are not allowed to foreclose on or evict certain servicemembers or their families without a court order.


California sues Walmart over disposal of hazardous waste

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California prosecutors say retail giant Walmart illegally dumps more than 1 million batteries, aerosol cans of insect killer and other products, toxic cleaning supplies, electronic waste, latex paints and other hazardous waste into California landfills each year.

The company called the lawsuit unjustified.

The state attorney general, 12 local prosecutors and the state’s hazardous waste regulator sued Walmart on Monday. Walmart says it has an effective hazardous waste program that is far more efficient than the state average.


Minnesota regulators reaffirm air permit for proposed mine

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State regulators who three years ago issued an air quality permit for a proposed copper-nickel mine in northwestern Minnesota are standing by their decision. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said in a report issued Monday that the mine did not provide misleading information on its construction plans. It’s a blow to several environmental groups and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

They had argued that PolyMet Mining Corp. planned to build a much larger mine that would cause more pollution than stated under the air permit.

The decision does not clear the way for construction as other major permits remain up in the air because of ongoing court cases or administrative work.


New Jersey lawmakers weigh Atlantic City casino aid bill

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A bill that would give tax relief to Atlantic City’s casinos is being considered by New Jersey lawmakers. The full state Senate passed a bill Monday making changes to an existing law enabling the nine casinos to make payments in lieu of property taxes.

It’s intended to help the casinos recover from the coronavirus pandemic by reducing large increases in the payments the casinos make in lieu of property taxes that would take effect if the bill is not passed.

Outgoing state Senate President Steve Sweeney says as many as four casinos could close without the relief the bill provides.


AP Source: NHL shutting down from Wednesday through Saturday

UNDATED (AP) — A person with direct knowledge of discussions tells The Associated Press the NHL is putting all teams on pause from Wednesday through Saturday. The move postpones five additional games scheduled for Thursday to make it a total of 49 this season.

An increase of positive COVID-19 test results among players around the league led to 10 teams closing practice facilities.

An early start to the Christmas break also comes with teams being allowed to gather Sunday for testing and other activities. The season is set to resume with games next Monday.

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